UGA’s new state-of-the-art bioimaging facility to host open house

UGA’s new state-of-the-art bioimaging facility to host open house

Athens, Ga. — The University of Georgia Bio-Imaging Research Center (BIRC) will hold its open house and grand opening reception on Jan. 23 at the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.

The open house will take place from 2-4 p.m. and will include presentations from UGA investigators involved with the center, as well as guided tours of the new state-of-the-art imaging facility located in the north wing of the Coverdell Center. Opening remarks will be given by UGA President Michael F. Adams and Vice President for Research David Lee. Light refreshments will be served.

Open to all university faculty for research in imaging-related areas, the BIRC features a number of premier tissue imaging technologies — including a three-Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) magnet — in one research suite.

Magnetic resonance-based imaging techniques available at BIRC include structural tissue imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI) for studies of brain activation in real time, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) for the study of chemical changes in the brain, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) for the study of vascular changes in brain.

An important component of the BIRC is the additional availability of magnetoencephalography (MEG) and dense-array electroencephalography (EEG), two functional brain imaging techniques that allow for unparalleled investigations into the workings of the brain at the very moments that thought occurs. Ultrasound imaging systems will also be housed in the suite.

The BIRC open house will conclude with the John and Mary Franklin Foundation Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Jerry Allison at 4 p.m. Allison is an expert in MRI physics and a professor of radiology and biomedical and radiological technologies at the Medical College of Georgia.

The Franklin Foundation Colloquium is a part of the Coverdell Neuroimaging Training Program. Established in 2004 through a grant from the Atlanta-based foundation, the program also supports two graduate research fellowships and a travel grant fund for students in neuroimaging.

“Through the integration of these technologies in one unique facility, the BIRC will expand state and national collaborative research on some of the most urgent health problems facing Georgia,” said Steve Miller, professor of psychology and director of the center.

Research already underway at the BIRC involves UGA faculty from departments within the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and College of Veterinary Medicine. Major areas of study include spinal cord and brain injury, schizophrenia, nutrition and child cognitive development, Alzheimer’s disease and age-related disorders.

The university’s educational mission in neuroscience also will be significantly enhanced, added Miller, providing a unique training environment for UGA graduate students participating in the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in neuroscience as well as the Coverdell Neuroimaging Training Program.

“This new BIRC advances the research that can be conducted here at UGA on a wide variety of issues concerning human health and illness,” said Jennifer McDowell, assistant professor of psychology and BIRC investigator. “It is a state-of-the-art facility and we are excited about its potential for both research and education.”

For more information about the BIRC open house, contact the BHSI office at 706/542-5922.